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An Historical Sketch of the Diocese of Saskatchewan of the Anglican Church of Canada

By W. F. Payton, Archdeacon Emeritus

Prince Albert: The Anglican Diocese of Saskatchewan, 1974.

Chapter 17. Establishment of Provincial University--Removal of Emmanuel College to Saskatoon--Sunday School by Post--Superintending clergy

The years that followed present a complex picture both in church and state. In the Diocese of Saskatchewan the arrival of the catechists from England presented a problem not only for the education and location of the men, but also in the organization of the missions and parishes which they were to supervise. In Prince Albert the city embarked upon a further period of growth, which was characterized by the emergence of three contentious issues among others. The first was with regard to the protracted delays of the railway lines running East to West across the North, and a great deal of time and energy was spent in assuring the completion of this project and the building of the bridge across the river to make it possible to continue the lines to the West. Secondly with regard to the creation of the Province of Saskatchewan and the disappearance of the Government of the North-West Territories, it was again attempted to present the claims of Prince Albert for consideration as the capital of the Province. Thirdly the establishment of a Provincial University also attracted the attention of the Prince Albert citizens as well as the church, in the hope that the University might be established here. The railways were finally completed and the combined traffic railway bridge was opened in April 1909. But with regard to the use of Prince Albert as the capital or as the site of a University, the hopes of the citizens were doomed to disappointment.

Details of these matters need not be presented here, they are carefully and adequately treated by other writers dealing with these particular aspects of the situation. But the development within the church of extensive new parishes and missions throughout the North are a matter of concern, although they cannot be treated in detail. However, the Synod of 1909 may perhaps be considered as representative of these developments in their initial stages, and a study of some of these developments from the Synod records of that year might be in order.

The Bishop at the outset of his remarks congratulated the citizens of Saskatoon as having had the University located in their city. Speaking of the difficulties of administration, the Bishop remarked that they were very great, "People have poured in by the thousands, railways have stretched and multiplied, towns and communities have sprung up like mushrooms on the prairies, great blocks of foreign peoples surround and separate our scattered few." Two consecutive bad harvests had reduced many to actual poverty, but he remarked that he was delighted to think that the next one may be more encouraging. He reported that 16 students from Montreal and Toronto had come to open several new missions while they were there for the Summer months. In addition, since the previous Synod, 5 clergymen and 15 catechists and one lady worker had been added to the clergy list, making the total 38 clergy in active work, 69 catechists and 7 Deaconesses and lady workers.

Speaking of Emmanuel College, the Bishop reported "It is still located in Prince Albert, but now that the University has been located at Saskatoon, and offers on most favourable terms to our men those secular subjects in education, which we cannot give, it would seem highly advisable that our College should move to Saskatoon when the University opens in September. The church at large, the societies which mainly support our college and our students, and the honour of the sacred ministry, all demand that secular [70/71] education should be added to the Theology which we supply, and the way in which this can be done without a large expenditure, and by far the best way, is to avail ourselves of the privileges offered by the University."

It is to be noted that at this Synod Archdeacon Lloyd had surrendered that position in the Diocese because of his inability to fulfill the duties connected with it, and is now referred to as the Reverend Principal Lloyd. Archdeacon J. A. Mackay received the congratulations of Synod upon his completion of the great work connected with the revised translation of the Bible into the Cree language. Gratitude was also expressed to the British and Foreign Bible Society for its liberality in publishing the scriptures in the Cree language.

Principal Lloyd, presenting the report of the Divinity College Board, reported that in view of the closing of the Indian Boarding School at the Emmanuel College property, the matter of the sale of Emmanuel College property to the Government had been considered and this transaction had been completed. In line with the remarks made by the Bishop in his charge, Principal Lloyd stated that at a meeting of the College Board in the previous May it was unanimously adopted that the Divinity College might take advantage of the Arts Course now being provided by the Provincial Government. It was decided that the next term should open in Saskatoon, concurrently with the University year about September 21st, 1909 and shall continue to the close of the University year about May 1st, 1910, and that all third class catechists be called in for this term. Arrangements were then made so that each class of catechists shall come in in due order, alternating according to a schedule between University and vacation terms. By doing this, each Deacon will have at least one University year. It was the intention that in future the Divinity Course would consist of three full years (University terms) after Matriculation and shall include subjects in Arts equal to one year.

The announcement of the beginning of the work of the Sunday School by Post was introduced by suggesting that it was an effort desired by Archdeacon Lloyd for the benefit of the children and young people of the country districts, to many of whom regular religious instruction in Sunday School, Bible Class, or Church was practically impossible. It is of interest to note that the suggestion came to Archdeacon Lloyd from Bishop Montgomery, who had related to him the success of a similar movement in Australia while he was Bishop of Tasmania.

The work was undertaken by Miss Bolton and was begun on March 17th, 1908. It gained ground at first slowly but by March 1909, 247 names had been entered on the roll. Twenty-three missions in the Diocese were represented on the lists, and two clergy, eleven catechists and four ladies had undertaken the work of visitors, sending in application cards, distributing lesson papers and examining work done by the members.

Among developments in the Prince Albert Deanery it was noted that the Parish of Rosthern had become self-supporting. At Skipton preparations were being made for the building of a church both there and at Silver Grove. At Red Deer Hill a new congregation had been formed and services were being regularly held in the schoolhouse, while at Royal preparations were being made for the building of a church. It was recommended that the Lindsay Mission, with its four centres, needed to be divided. In the Birch Hills Mission there were now five centres, the one at St. Louis having been opened since the previous Synod. Work in the Prince Albert Mission was proceeding favourably and had received considerable impetus with the advent of the new railway. Meanwhile, in the Melfort Deanery, under the chairmanship of the Reverend Thomas Clarke, six new churches had been opened and services were being undertaken in lumbering camps. Reference was also made to [71/72] Birch Hills by Mr. Clarke who said that the two congregations at Birch Hills and Brancepeth had two beautiful churches, and were making every effort to clear off the debt on them and do more in future towards self-support. Coxby and Glen Mary, although very old congregations, had not yet attained the standard of contributing towards the stipend, but with a prosperous year and good crops it was looked for a cheerful response from them.

Fourteen new centres had been opened in the Saskatoon Deanery, while one or two others had been closed. New churches had been built at Perdue, Sutherland, Quill Lake, Humboldt, Elstow and Colonsay, among others, while St. James at Saskatoon had been enlarged and St. John's was in the process of being enlarged at that time. In the Lloydminster Deanery new churches had been built at Mannville and at Campbell's Lake north of Vermilion. At Islay and Pleasant Valley two very comfortable churches had been built and practically finished, while at Pleasant Valley a fine commodious house had been built. Two more churches were built in the vicinity of Lloydminster--at Westmorland and at Hewitt's Landing.

Reference was made to the fact that All Saints Church, Lashburn, would be now in all probability the most complete church fabric in the Diocese, with a beautiful brick church costing $7,000.00 and a Rectory costing $3,000.00. It was reported that the whole with a fine site was unconditionally presented to the church by Mr. J. Morrison Bruce. The thanks of the Synod were conveyed to Mr. Bruce for his most generous gift.

In accordance with the announced intentions for Emmanuel College which were made at the Synod, Emmanuel College moved from Prince Albert to Saskatoon in September of that year. It became the first Theological College to affiliate with the Provincial University, while continuing as a college of the University created by the Dominion Act of 1883.

As Emmanuel College had not been incorporated as such in the earlier Statutes, a further Statute was passed by the University Senate in 1914, declaring Emmanuel College to be established in accordance with the provisions of the Act of 1883, and creating the Corporation to be known as Emmanuel College. By Act of Parliament it obtained a new name as the University of Emmanuel College.

Dr. Jean Murray of the Department of History at the University of Saskatchewan, in an admirable article on the early history of Emmanuel College, published by Saskatchewan History in autumn 1956, quotes Principal Lloyd from an article in the Saskatoon Phoenix in January 1945 in an attempt to clarify the constitutional changes for the public. Principal Lloyd stated that the University of Emmanuel College intended to retain its charter rights, and then went on to say: "The Bishop of Saskatchewan and his advisors realized that the name 'University of Saskatchewan' should belong to the Provincial Institution, and although they do not recognize any power on the part of the local legislature to take away their name without their consent, they are quite willing to surrender the name to the Province . . . Should, however, any attempt ever be made to move the Provincial University to Regina or to grant degree conferring power to any institution in the province other than the Provincial University, the authorities of (the University of) Emmanuel College might take up again the exercise of their degree conferring power in all faculties in Saskatoon. But as neither of these events is likely to take place, in all probability only the power of granting degrees in divinity will be exercised in the future."

In 1910 the C. and C.C.S. in their annual report published the description of the move from Prince Albert to Saskatoon. Principal Lloyd reported that one term's work closed in Prince Albert about September 15th, 1909 and [72/73] a new term had to begin in Saskatoon with 35 men in residence within ten days or so afterwards.

"On Friday evening at 6 o'clock the examination papers were finished in Prince Albert, and by 8 o'clock on Saturday morning 25 students and 3 lecturers had their coats off, and tables, chairs, books, boards, lamps and desks, tents and kitchen utensils were being loaded onto a wagon and then onto a freight cart for transportation to Saskatoon.

"By Monday morning we were in Saskatoon with 15 students, 2 lecturers . . . Under the superintendence of a carpenter we went to work to put up the buildings for the new term of 35 men who would be coming in for lectures on September 25th.

"Shacks were hastily erected for the cook and his wife, and for Mr. Tuckey, the Dean of Residence. Mr. Broadbent had already purchased three lots of land in the same block, and had had a very nice house built on his own property by the carpenters. A catechists' shack brought by road from Warman became the Archdeacon's bedroom and office, and a 65-foot building was built by the carpenters as a dormitory."

At the Synod in the following year, Principal Lloyd reported that these temporary buildings did duty fairly well during the winter and were then being used together with some tents for the 28 first class catechists in residence. He added that some further accommodation would be necessary for the large number coming into residence in the following September, and suggested the erection of another lecture room and six additional shacks, to hold five men each, and that these buildings could then be sold when the permanent building was ready.

Principal Lloyd added that there were 61 catechists or students on the college list which, together with 30 new students either in the field or coming out shortly, would provide 90 men for the Diocese in various stages of preparation. Upon graduation from the College, all men would have served a full 5 years and will have justified themselves in character, practical ability and divinity education, the Principal remarked.

With reference to the site of the College, it was reported that the University had set aside a block of ground of about 5 acres near the entrance to the University Grounds and close to where the Arts Building would be. A university architect was engaged by the Board and it was expected that the work of construction would start some time in July, but that the building would not be ready before May or June of 1911, or perhaps until September. Financing of the permanent building was a subject which gave the Board some concern, and Principal Lloyd outlined a means whereby parishes or donors could provide rooms within the building. Both the building and the cost of the staff and the supplying of bursaries were very strongly supported by the C. and C.C.S. which for many years afterwards continued to maintain and to some extent to direct, the affairs of Emmanuel College.

This marked the beginning of a record of service in Western Canada which is unequalled by any other institution. The whole life of the West has been greatly enriched by the lives of not only the students but also of those members of the staff who have given such devoted service in the years that have followed. Had it not been for the wisdom and foresight of Bishop Newnham and Archdeacon Lloyd and all those associated with them, the work of the church in Western Canada would never have been able to supply the constantly increasing numbers of clergy that were necessary. The growth of Emmanuel College in the intellectual and academic background of the University has proved of increasing value with the general advancement of education in the country, and many men of genuine scholarship have [73/74] begun their studies there and gone out into influential positions throughout many parts of the Continent since that time.

The new college building, built of stone in harmony with the other buildings of the University, was officially opened on June 8th, 1912. Associated with the C. and C.C.S. in England in providing the financial support were many public spirited citizens and organizations in England and also in Canada. The Town of Rugby was responsible for providing the cost of the lecture rooms, and the famous Rugby School was responsible for the erection of the college chapel. This frame building still stands near the College and has been superseded by a new stone chapel, and the old building is being retained as an historic site. Apart from the chapel and a library, most of the facilities of the college were contained in the main building which housed residential accommodation for the students, lecture rooms, faculty room and dining room.

Since that time, a fine new residence has been built, but the original building still serves for the administrative and teaching functions of the College.

When Principal Lloyd resigned his position as Archdeacon of Prince Albert, due to the increasing pressures of the divinity school, Bishop Newnham became increasingly aware of the need for a co-ordinating agent in the rapidly increasing white work of the Diocese. With the removal to Saskatoon of Principal Lloyd and also of the other members of the staff, it became even more imperative that someone should be obtained for visitation of the parishes. At the Synod of June 1910, Bishop Newnham reported to the Synod that he had been able to carry out the wish of the Synod and secure a general missionary, that is a clergyman who should make the Diocese his parish, and should journey from end to end of it, spending some days in each mission, some weeks in each district, preaching, lecturing and visiting from house to house with the one object in view of consolidating the church members into one great Diocesan Association animated by loyalty to the church, inspired with true missionary zeal for the advancement of the church, and convinced of the duty and privilege of contributing systematically and to the utmost of their power towards the proper support of the church in their midst, and the church of the Diocese. In April of that year he had appointed Reverend W. G. Dreyer to this position.

When the catechists had come out from England under Archdeacon Lloyd, a system of visitation had then been begun whereby areas of superintending clergy were called "driving centres". These superintending clergy had under their care sometimes four, sometimes seven, and sometimes nine catechists over whom they exercised supervision.

Then and for many years afterwards, there were three classes of parishes in the Diocese: first, a mission where only the minor part of the stipend is found by the people; second, a parish where the major part of the stipend was found by the people; third, a rectory where the whole support of the church and the parish is maintained by the congregation or congregations therein.

Mr. Dreyer reported to the Synod in 1910, after a few months in this position, that he had visited and canvassed 13 missions, 12 of which formed the most Westerly part of the Diocese. The total distance driven was 1,047 miles and the number of visits he had made 498.

The only mission not in the Western end of the Diocese was his visit to Shellbrook which he described as a new village 32 miles to the West. He went on to say that it had assumed considerable importance and he had spent two days in company with a catechist, Mr. Trenholm, calling on 34 homes, visiting people of every denomination, and never receiving a single refusal to assist in the maintenance of the church services in their midst. [74/75] He reported that the service to which he returned the Sunday following was held over the Livery Barn, a place by no means conducive to good attendance but the only place available. During his visitation, a subscription list produced a total of $324.00 towards the support of the church where in the previous year only $34.00 had been forthcoming. He strongly recommended that Shellbrook receive immediate attention.

In spite of the work of the superintending clergy, the Rural Deans and the General missionary, Bishop Newnham felt it necessary at the same Synod in 1910 to plead for someone who could work among the settlers as an Archdeacon, in the same way that Archdeacon Mackay did for the Indian work. The Bishop stated that he was working now at the greatest pressure possible; and in saying this he was thinking more of the work than of himself in so doing. In view of the work growing as the Bishop said by leaps and bounds, he felt that all were 'hustlers' in the work, and he did not wish to be less of a 'hustler' than the others. But, he went on, "I think the stress of all this hustling falls upon the Bishop most, and I feel the strain both in mind and body. Life and pleasure is often taken out of the work by the constant feeling that however much I do, there is still much undone; that there is no prospect of a rest, but only a fear that the work is gaining on me, and with very little more I should break down, and then things would be worse than before. I have not left the Diocese for two years now, but have turned a deaf ear to the call to join the other Bishops in council, whether in the Board of Missions or in Committees on which I have been appointed." The moral of all this, said the Bishop, is that I am not asking for a Coadjutor Bishop, nor for a holiday, but for a good capable Archdeacon, and means to pay him.

By June 1911 at the next Synod the Bishop was able to say that he had freed the Reverend A. D. Dewdney from the parish work at St. Alban's Cathedral and appointed him Archdeacon of Prince Albert, as a result of which Archdeacon Dewdney had thrown himself so energetically into the new work that he hoped he would be able to keep the missions more frequently visited, and the statistics returns and organization more up-to-date as a result of their joint efforts.

In his report to the Synod, Archdeacon Dewdney stated that they now had 110 fully organized congregations, 15 partly organized and 117 unorganized. The total number of centres where services were held was listed at 242. The staff of workers consisted of 29 Priests, 24 Deacons, 16 Catechists, 42 Diocesan students and 4 students from the East, compared with 2 5 Priests, 4 Deacons, 38 Catechists, 40 students and 8 Summer students the previous year.

Besides attending meetings in all parts of the Diocese, Archdeacon Dewdney went on to say that a considerable portion of his work had been in connection with debts contracted by parishes, and as a result of building and other programs being undertaken without proper forethought. He had also dealt with the question of architecture, especially in the case of the smaller mission churches, and hoped that plans would shortly be available whereby economical and efficient buildings might be erected.

The greatest need, he felt, was the need for superintending clergy. Three Priests were required to fill vacancies now existing and most of the driving belts were too large for proper oversight and for sufficient administrations of Holy Communion.

The comprehensive nature of Archdeacon Dewdney s report showed not only the value of the work that the Bishop had called upon him to do, but also the exceedingly capable manner in which it had been undertaken.

Archdeacon J. A. Mackay reported at the same Synod on behalf of the [75/76] Indian work. At Cedar Lake it is interesting to note that Reverend Edward Ahenakew had been appointed for temporary work in the absence of Reverend Melville Leffer. Rev. Albert Fraser was in charge of The Pas or Devon Mission, he is well remembered for his missionary service in the Diocese by many of the churchmen of today. At Cumberland the Reverend J. R. Settee, a son of the Reverend James Settee, founder of the La Ronge Mission, was the missionary and his son Nathan Settee was teaching school. In the Prince Albert district a church was being built by the Reverend James Brown, who at that time was in charge of the Stanley Mission. At Lac La Ronge Reverend M. D. Edwards was in charge not only of the Mission but also of the Boarding School. Steps were being taken here also to have a church erected in the near future. At Montreal Lake the mission continued under the care of Mr. J. R. Settee, a catechist and son of the Reverend J. R. Settee. To us today it is interesting to recall that he was for many years a lay worker at the Little Red River Reserve near Christopher Lake, and died full of years and greatly respected in I960.

Preparations were being made at Big Head's Reserve at Fort a la Corne for the building of a church, the logs having been chopped and hauled and about $200.00 collected for the purpose. At Sturgeon Lake Reverend John Hines continued in charge and the work was also making progress, with Mr. Hutchinson the teacher of the day school conducting an English service every Sunday, which was also attended by settlers in the neighborhood and a few Indians who understood English. Reverend D. D. McDonald continued in charge at Sandy Lake and the Indians being settled, considerable progress was being made. At John Smith Reserve or St. James Mission the Reverend R. F. MacDougall was in charge and the Indians there were considered to be the most advanced of any in the Diocese. A good many were said to be graduates of the Battleford Industrial School and of other Residential Schools and had learned English, in which language most of their services were conducted. Generally in the Battleford district Red Pheasant, Little Pines, Thunderchild's, Sweet Grass, Moosomin's Reserves were all being satisfactorily cared for, some on a part time basis by neighboring missionaries. St. Barnabas at Onion Lake continued to be the only Indian mission in the Diocese in which hospital work was being done, in addition to the church and boarding school undertaken by the Reverend J. R. Matheson.

The general missionary, Reverend W. G. Dreyer, reported that three parishes had become self-supporting at Battleford, North Battleford and Mel-fort. As a result of his canvassing, in 45 missions with a total of 107 congregations, the amount being contributed to the income of the clerical stipends had risen to $16,781.00 in addition to the $3,000.00 promised at the previous Synod.

Archdeacon Dewdney reporting as the Rural Dean of Prince Albert was happy to congratulate the Cathedral parish in completing the projected enlargement of the Cathedral Church. He also welcomed the Reverend J. I. Strong as the new Rector of St. Alban's. Shellbrook by this time was reported to have a well built and well appointed church situated on a commanding site, and congratulations were extended to the Reverend W. H. Davis on the good work that he had done and the progress that had been made. Miss J. L. Bolton in charge of the Sunday School by Post reported that numbers had dropped from 463 to 326, as a result of many of the families now coming within reach of the Sunday Schools. It is interesting to note that inquiries as to the organization of Sunday School by Post had been received from Manitoba, Qu'Appelle and the Fiji Islands. This testifies not only to the success of the Sunday School by Post in the early years, but also the interest that it aroused in other areas where similar work needed to be done.

[77] The parish of Tisdale at this time had been reorganized with new church wardens and vestrymen, and the old debt on the church had been assumed by them and subsequently had been paid off. At this time Mr. Boyle was in charge of the parish.

At Saskatoon it was reported that St. James Church, which had been practically a collegiate church for the past two years, had now become a parish church with Mr. Broadbent appointed as incumbent. The existing debt had been reduced by about $850.00 and the congregation largely increased in numbers, with a vested choir organized and the contract let for a new parsonage to be built, which would cost in the neighborhood of $3,000.00. At Christ Church a wonderful advance had taken place in every branch of the church's work, but in spite of the seating capacity being increased it was taxed to its utmost. St. George's Mission had been handicapped by the absence of Mr. Home, the incumbent for a goodly portion of the year, but was still showing a marked advance especially in the Sunday School area.

These notes have been selected as characterizing the consistently faithful attention that was being given to the work throughout the whole Diocese and the solid foundations that were being built by the conscientious and self-sacrificing labours not only of the Bishop and the administrative staff of the Diocese but also of the clergy, catechists, students and congregations of all the churches and missions existing at that time.

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